HC Deb 12 December 1973 vol 866 cc394-5
8. Mr. Alexander Wilson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to complete his consultations with interested bodies on the Melville Report.

Mr. Monro

My right hon. Friend is awaiting the views of the General Teaching Council on the recommendations relating to staff in junior occupational centres.

Mr. Wilson

Is the Minister aware that that is a disappointing reply? Does he realise that thousands of Scottish children are being deprived of educational opportunities available to their counterparts in England and Wales? Since the Secretary of State has been sitting on this report for over nine months, is it not time that he was delivering the goods?

Mr. Monro

The hon. Gentleman must realise that this is an important and valuable report. We have to have the fullest consultation. We are now in the final stage and have asked the General Teaching Council to give us its views as quickly as possible. We should welcome the Private Member's Bill brought forward by the hon. Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie), which will take up two of the recommendations of the report and will be most valuable.

Mr. Carmichael

May I press the Minister on this? Is he aware that, as I understand it, the GTC received this report, asking for comments, only a fortnight ago? Has there not been some delay? Is he aware that there is great anxiety in the training colleges because there has been no course for teacher training since 1969 and there are no courses now because people are waiting for this report? Will he give us the Government's thinking about existing staff, because there is a great deal of worry and anxiety among them as to what their status will be when the report is accepted?

Mr. Monro

Naturally, I should like to alleviate any worries in the minds of the staff as soon as possible, but it would be wrong to give piecemeal recommendations when early in the new year we hope to give a complete factual statement of our views on this valuable report. I know that in the last year or so the courses at Jordanhill have been discontinued, but that is an interim measure. At present the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work and the Training Council for Teachers of the Mentally Handicapped are discussing what courses can be introduced and we hope that some may start next session.